Free Songwriter Web Sites
Tunesmith.net: Based in Nashville, Tennessee,
Tunesmith.netis a free Web site for aspiring professional songwriters. Members can post MP3s on the free server space provided and get critiques from other members and the site admins. Q&A forums are run by industry professionals and cover topics like recording, vocal technique, and the music biz. Once a month, site admins choose a “featured” for the front page. Several of these writers now have publishing deals and/or cuts. Tunesmith.net has a dedicated chat room on a digichat server and hosts live chat critiques with publishers and professional songwriters.
Muse's Muse: Canadian-based Muse's Muse is a fun site with tons of great articles on songwriting and related matters by industry pros and a critique board for lyrics. The site is well organized and aesthetically pleasing. The atmosphere is less brutal than Tunesmith and the focus is more on exploring creative boundaries than making a living.
Just Plain Folks: Just Plain Folks (JPF) is a good place for novices to get their feet wet. JPF has loosely organized chapters in several cities in the United States and Canada and has a traveling rally, where members can get together in person. The critiques here are gentle and encouraging for those new to songwriting.
Periodicals and Online Magazines
American Music Center: Classical and jazz list of composer contacts.
ASCAP Playback: Free e-zine.
BMI Music World: Free e-zine.
Music Dish: Online news magazine.
Oasis Salsero!: Latin, Salsa, Afro-Cuban, and more.
Other Music Resources
Tabalorium: Free guitar tablature and links to more.
Jason Blume: Pro critiques.
Barbara Cloyd: Pro critiques.
Songcatalog.com: Online catalog used by writer/publishers.
Songlink: Monthly tip sheet. “Genie in a Bottle” was cut through this resource, also cuts with Sheena Easton, Diana Ross and Tina Turner. Subscribers include publishers from Acuff to Zomba. $285 for a year.
Taxi: $300 per year membership and $5 per song submission fee.
Contests and Competitions
The John Lennon Songwriting Contest: Pretty good as contests go. At least one winner (Lisa Carver, 2001) has a record deal now.
These days, you can learn a lot from the comfort of your own home. You can get song critiques, meet co-writers, learn song craft, read songwriting e-zines, buy songwriting books, and find all sorts of other stuff on the Internet.